The town of Belt owes its existence to the coal mines located here in the 1890's. In those days the pop. was 4,000. The Anaconda mine, seen here, employed 1,000 men and produced 2,500 tons of coal daily.
The bituminous coal went to the Anaconda . . . — — Map (db m143651) HM
Pennsylvania native John Castner discovered rich coal deposits along Belt Creek in 1870. Within just a few years, he and Fort Benton trader T.C. Power opened a commercial coal mine near here. The partners sold coal for use by the Great Northern . . . — — Map (db m143650) HM
Lewis and Clark named nearby Belt Butte for its girdle of rocks and, in 1877, John Castner named his town Belt. Coal brought Castner here, and Fort Benton was the first market for his Castner Coal Company. Then, in 1889, the Boston and Montana . . . — — Map (db m143649) HM
The scenic Highwood Mountains, visible on the skyline to the northeast, are composed of resistant volcanic rocks which tower above the relatively soft surrounding sedimentary rocks. The mountains contain an unusual abundance of a dark igneous rock . . . — — Map (db m143648) HM
This building was constructed in 1867 and served as the private quarters for the commanding officer's and their families while stationed here.
13th U.S. Infantry 1867-1871
Maj. William Clinton
Lt. Col. G.L. Andrews
Col. I.V.D. Reeves . . . — — Map (db m144026) HM
Barring fur trading posts, the first important white settlements in Montana were the mining camps in the western mountains.
Everything to the east belonged to the plains Indians and was buffalo range.
To protect the miners and settlers from . . . — — Map (db m101871) HM
Camp Reynolds was established on this site June 30 - 1867 to protect route from Helena to Fort Benton.
Name changed to Fort Shaw July 4 - 1867 in remembrance of Colonel Robert G. Shaw.
Declared a military reservation January 11 - 1870 . . . — — Map (db m144022) HM
"Come bring your lunch basket and you friends and have a good time," urged Montana newspapers in June 1897. The Fort Shaw Indian School's year-end exercises would begin at 1:00 p.m. with a band concert, followed by field games, recitations, and . . . — — Map (db m144021) HM
Fred C. Campbell became superintendent of the Fort Shaw Indian School in 1898. He was a progressive teacher and administrator skilled in public relations; and he quickly recognized the ability of the young women's basketball team. By 1902 he was . . . — — Map (db m143987) HM
"Nibbles," a Montanoceratops cerorynchus (sic, cerorhynchos?), was a small plant eating dinosaur from the late cretaceous period. The species is about 68 million years old and was discovered in 1942 in the St. Mary River Formation in North Central . . . — — Map (db m143859) HM
A graceful wraparound porch with square posts, a central entry beneath a projecting gable, and transomed windows distinguish this charming vernacular example of the Greek Revival style. Inside, a rounded hall ceiling adds lovely period elegance. The . . . — — Map (db m143826) HM
Great Falls’ premier residential street, Fourth Avenue North, gained 24 new homes between 1900 and 1910. Among them was this substantial residence, constructed in 1904 for bookkeeper Edgar Newlon and his wife Anna. The home is a classic American . . . — — Map (db m143823) HM
Hidasta informants described a fall of water on the Missouri River near the mountains, so the Captains expected a short portage. Instead of one waterfall, Lewis happened upon a succession of five, and their hope for a short portage faded. Look . . . — — Map (db m80319) HM
Pictured in 1909 in the Great Falls Tribune under the headline “A Great Falls Residence,” this Queen Anne style house was hardly typical of its day. An imposing two-and-one-half-story structure, the elegant home was built in 1901 for . . . — — Map (db m143815) HM
A dramatic living room fireplace, crystal chandelier, and boxed-beam dining room ceiling are among the original fixtures continuing to decorate the interior of the Abe and Carrie Kaufman residence. Neoclassical, Craftsman, and Victorian detailing . . . — — Map (db m143816) HM
The Boston and Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company, later acquired by the Anaconda Company, chose a treeless bluff overlooking the river to locate its smelter and refinery in 1892. Among the seventeen managers’ houses built at . . . — — Map (db m143828) HM
During the busy 1890s, Great Falls’ business district swarmed with activity. City boosters such as pioneer rancher Robert Vaughn expressed confidence in the town’s future by investing in commercial real estate. Vaughn commissioned an unknown . . . — — Map (db m143679) HM
The uppermost of the Great Falls of the Missouri bears west of this point. The name is a modern one derived from an entry for June 14th, 1805 in the journal of Capt. Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He discovered the falls on that . . . — — Map (db m80427) HM
By 1910, the Queen Anne style had lost much of its allure. Once admired, its artistic jumble of angles, textures, and colors had become reviled as cluttered and artificial. This rejection of complexity was gradual, and many houses—like this . . . — — Map (db m143856) HM
Streamline Moderne architecture celebrated America’s engineering prowess. The style—which offered an optimistic response to the woes of the Great Depression—promised a better future through technology. Its celebration of speed and . . . — — Map (db m143678) HM
Charles E. Davis, “expert watchmaker and jeweler,” arrived in Great Falls with his wife, Grace, in 1900. With Charles’ two brothers, the couple opened a store on bustling Central Avenue, selling jewelry, watches, cut glass, gifts, and . . . — — Map (db m143805) HM
Spirited revelry in the streets of Great Falls greeted news of the creation of Cascade County in 1887.
Named county seat, Great Falls grew quickly, with county offices located in various downtown buildings.
In 1891 voters approved the . . . — — Map (db m101873) HM
The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway was constructed between 1907 and 1909, the last transcontinental railroad to cross Montana. Its service to Great Falls during the homestead boom supported the city’s establishment as a major urban center . . . — — Map (db m141948) HM
The plains surrounding Great Falls were crowded with immense herds of deer, elk, antelope and buffalo. Buffalo was a staple diet item for plains Indians and became a favorite meal for the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Lewis and Clark . . . — — Map (db m126498) HM
Former Great Falls “cowhands” held a reunion in 1938. Now grown men, as boys they had earned money herding local milk cows in and out of town each day or driving range cattle through the city streets. Membership soon expanded beyond . . . — — Map (db m143671) HM
A shortage of steel and limited purchases of nonessential goods during World War II caused the automobile industry to skyrocket after the war ended. As the troops came home and the economy recovered, Montana experienced this boom as well. By the . . . — — Map (db m143772) HM
excerpt from the journals of Captain Meriwether Lewis
I scelected a fat buffaloe and shot him very well
Robert M. Scriver, Sculptor
, through the lungs ... expecting him to fall ...
...a large white, or reather brown bear ... crept on me . . . — — Map (db m141981) HM
A close look at the Woolworth Building’s upper floors makes evident that it was originally two separate, but closely related edifices. Connecting arches over second-story windows, a decorative metal cornice, and a crowning brick parapet distinguish . . . — — Map (db m143769) HM
First Sermon by
Reverend Jacob Mills
401 Central Avenue
Reverend Francis Asbury Riggin and Reverend William Wesley Van Orsdel secured present Church site
First Sanctuary 1888
Second Sanctuary 1902
Educational . . . — — Map (db m143773) HM
The pioneer Methodist circuit rider William Wesley Van Orsdel—better known as “Brother Van”—arrived in Fort Benton, Montana, on the steamboat, Far West, in 1872. For forty-five years, he traveled on horseback, by wagon, by . . . — — Map (db m143788) HM
... the rocks seems to be most happily fixed to present a sheet of the whitest beaten froath for 200 yards in length and about 80 feet perpendicular. — Meriwether Lewis, June 13, 1805
The Great Falls of the Missouri . . . — — Map (db m82766) HM
Lewis and Clark
On their historic Expedition to the Pacific Coast
June 18 - 1805
In honor of the courage, fidelity and
patriotism of the explorers
this tablet is here
placed and . . . — — Map (db m148969) HM
An eclectic cultural landscape has long characterized the West Bank. Separated from downtown Great Falls by the broad Missouri River, the larger neighborhood has hosted a varied mix of industrial, residential, and commercial development since the . . . — — Map (db m143758) HM
Clean lines, formal monumental openings, and restrained revival details mark the 1939 Great Falls Civic Center as a municipal Art Deco style building. The Works Projects Administration provided most of the funding for the building. The . . . — — Map (db m143680) HM
An eclectic cultural landscape has long characterized the West Bank. Separated from downtown Great Falls by the broad Missouri River, the larger neighborhood has hosted a varied mix of industrial, residential, and commercial development since the . . . — — Map (db m143676) HM
Beneath the façade of this solid-looking building stands a much older wooden boarding house. In 1891, only seven years after the founding of Great Falls, a two-story dwelling stood on this lot. Mrs. S. H. Lemon ran the boarding house in 1896 and . . . — — Map (db m143770) HM
To avoid the series of waterfalls along the Missouri River north of this point, the Expedition portaged their canoes and several tons of baggage, crossing the highway right here. At the lower camp, some 12 miles NE, the crew made crude wagons, the . . . — — Map (db m143667) HM
Thirty-six hundred people watched Nomads of the North at the grand opening of the Liberty Theatre in August 1921. A musical score, played on a $47,000 Wurlitzer organ, accompanied the silent film. An overflow crowd of two thousand toured the . . . — — Map (db m143756) HM
Since 1942, Malmstrom Air Force Base has been on the frontline of America's national defense. Known locally as East Base during World War II. B-17 Flying Fortress pilots trained here and the base served as a staging area for military planes flown to . . . — — Map (db m143664) HM
Freemasons trace their history to the stonemasons of Medieval Europe, an association referenced in the design for the Great Falls Masonic Temple. Constructed in 1914, the three-story building features a dramatic central tower and steep gable bays . . . — — Map (db m143771) HM
Carroll B. McCulloh and his wife Ella constructed this elegant two-story brick home in 1911, raising their two children here. Its two-and-one-half stories, simple box shape, low-hipped roof, large central dormer, wide overhanging eaves, and offset . . . — — Map (db m143855) HM
The men followed military protocol, receiving orders from the captains and sergeants. The daily chores became second nature and never-ending.
They hunted, cooked for today, or dried meat for tomorrow.
They prepared . . . — — Map (db m143874) HM
In the 1880s Murphy, Maclay and Co. sold everything from flour and fine teas to window glass and blasting powder. Edgar Maclay and John Murphy established the firm with stores in Helena and Fort Benton in 1882. Two years later they sent Worden Wren . . . — — Map (db m143754) HM
Town founders Paris Gibson and Herbert Chowen built the original Park Hotel in 1892 to serve travelers disembarking at the nearby Great Northern Depot. When the hundred-room hotel burned in a 1913 fire, Park Hotel owners hired prominent Great Falls . . . — — Map (db m143753) HM
Great Falls founder Paris Gibson was drawn to the power of the falls of the Missouri where he vowed to found an industrial center of “unsurpassed beauty.” Backed by railroad magnate James J. Hill, Gibson hired H. P. Rolfe to plat the . . . — — Map (db m143857) HM
Meriwether Lewis recorded the first scientific observations of the westslope cutthroat trout while he ate one for dinner. Once abundant, the fish has been listed as a species of special concern since 1979.
"These trout...precisely resemble our . . . — — Map (db m143908) HM
The narrowleaf cottonwood, a tree "with a leaf like that of the wild cherry" was first described for modern science by Lewis on June 12, 1805. Other expedition first near Great Falls include documenting the cutthroat trout, thirteen-lined . . . — — Map (db m143875) HM
Over 150 million gallons of water flow from Giant Springs everyday and cascade into the Missouri River.
The springs occur where cracks in the rocks above the Madison Limestone allow water to leak upward to the land surface. It is similar to a . . . — — Map (db m127798) HM
By 1908, Montana’s agricultural boom was in full swing, and real estate agents like John Quigley, whose firm offered farms “on 20 years payments,” seemed poised to make a fortune. That year forty-eight-year-old Quigley built this large . . . — — Map (db m143807) HM
Thirty-six hundred people watched Nomads of the North at the grand opening of the Liberty Theatre in August 1921. A musical score, played on a $47,000 Wurlitzer organ, accompanied the silent film. An overflow crowd of two thousand toured the . . . — — Map (db m143757) HM
On July 3, 1984 this island was named in honor of Sacajawea, the Shoshoni Indian girl who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition from the Mandan villages to the Pacific Coast.
Sacajawea was born about 1788 in southwest Montana, At 12 years . . . — — Map (db m143877) HM
On his way down the Ohio River in 1803, Captain Meriwether Lewis purchased a Newfoundland dog for twenty dollars. It was a perfect choice of breed for the impending exploration; powerful swimmer, strong guarding instinct, gentle disposition and a . . . — — Map (db m143860) HM
Shortly after Pope Pius X established the Diocese of Great Falls in 1904, Great Falls’ first bishop, Matthias Lenihan, hired Montana architect John Hackett Kent to design a cathedral equal to those in Europe. Kent, who helped design the Montana . . . — — Map (db m141924) HM
Irish-born Timothy Collins followed the gold stampedes to Montana but soon turned to law and politics. For a time in the 1870s he was the only attorney practicing in Meagher County. Elected to the territorial legislature several times, Collins was a . . . — — Map (db m143677) HM
Apartment buildings were good investments in rapidly expanding communities like Great Falls, which grew from 17,000 to 26,000 between 1910 and 1920. Owners reported waiting lists for units, which ranged from rooms in old-fashioned “apartment . . . — — Map (db m143824) HM
Lewis and Clark Trail markers follow today's highways, but rivers actually determined most of their route. By the Great Falls, over 2500 miles of Missouri "roadway" had been navigated.
Keeping the Expedition Afloat
During three seasons . . . — — Map (db m143674) HM
Designed to be Portable
In 1803, Captain Meriwether Lewis led an expedition to map a water route west to the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, the Lewis and Clark Expedition uses 26 different boats, but one deserves special mention. . . . — — Map (db m143669) HM
For Meriwether Lewis in 1805, the falls were an obstacle on the journey to the Pacific. To Paris Gibson (near right) the falls were a source of great opportunity. As Gibson laid out the townsite of Great Falls he envisioned dams to harness the falls . . . — — Map (db m126545) HM
On June, 13, 1805 Captain Meriwether Lewis confirmed the existence of what had been just a legend to many - the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Earlier that day, Lewis, who as suspected the falls were in the area based on what the Minnetaree . . . — — Map (db m141983) HM
”…the men has to haul with all their Strength Wate & art, catching grass & knobes and Stones with their hands to give them more force in drawing on the Canoes & Loads, at every halt, those not employed in repairing the Course, are asleep . . . — — Map (db m126558) HM
From here you can witness one of the shortest rivers in the country flowing into the longest river. The Roe River ranks as one of the shortest rivers at only 201 feet in length. The Missouri River is the longest in the country stretching 2,540 . . . — — Map (db m82765)
In Grateful Memory of
316 High School Boys
Who Enlisted in the World War
1914 - 1919
All but ten returned to serve as
Citizens in the Arts of Peace
The Ten Who Died in Service
for Whom the Elm Trees about this plat are . . . — — Map (db m143789) WM
Native American tribes followed the buffalo through this area and camped at Giant Springs. The temperature of the spring water stays a consistent 54 degrees all year long, making this a good site for winter camps.
Lewis and Clark Corps of . . . — — Map (db m127799) HM
The front canted bay window hints at the modest one-story Queen Anne style residence that lies at the core of this elegant home. In 1891, the house was one of only two on the block. A small back addition had been added by 1900, when Mandeville . . . — — Map (db m143822) HM
At the center of the African American community in Great Falls for more than a century, the Union Bethel AME Church began holding regular services in the first fire station in 1890. The following year African American residents gathered with white . . . — — Map (db m143792) HM
The Sisters of the Order of St. Ursula came to Montana in 1884 to establish schools for Indians. When the homestead movement created a need for more urban educational facilities, the Great Falls Townsite Company offered the sisters any two city . . . — — Map (db m143791) HM
A grand home on a large corner lot, this Colonial Revival residence bespeaks the prominence of its first owners. Banker, rancher, and state senator William Floweree and his wife, Norma, built this brick two-and-one-half-story home in 1916. Its . . . — — Map (db m143806) HM
Geologists have determined that water seeps into the ground southeast of Great Falls in the Little Belt Mountains, where the Madison Limestone formation is exposed at the land surface. The water then travels through the formation toward Giant . . . — — Map (db m82764)
William and Isabel Shea built this cozy one-story brick home in 1929. With its distinctive low profile, clipped-gable shingle roof, stucco siding, exposed rafter tails, and multi-pane windows, the inviting residence is a classic Craftsman style . . . — — Map (db m143670) HM
The discovery of silver in 1879 in Galena Creek southwest of here created a real transportation challenge for the miners of the early 1880's - how to bring in mining supplies and how to haul their precious ore out to distant railroads and markets.
. . . — — Map (db m108776) HM
Montana may seem a long way from international events, yet it was once in the forefront of a confrontation between the United States and Soviet Union. In October 1962, American President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stood . . . — — Map (db m127800) HM
Rich veins of silver were mined in the Historic Neihart Mining District for a fifty-year period beginning in July 1881. Remnants of the first claim, the Queen of the Hills mine, are located just a few hundred yards north of where you are standing. . . . — — Map (db m128300) HM
The ore-extraction process also carries the legacy of pollution. In particular, tailings are leftovers from crushing and chemically treating ore to extract valuable metals such as silver. This fine-grained material, which has been found in isolated . . . — — Map (db m128351) HM
Bird Tail Rock to the southeast was one of the most prominent landmarks along the Benton Road between Fort Benton and Helena. An igneous intrusion about 55 million years old, it acquired its name because it resembled a "bird's tail" erect and spread . . . — — Map (db m144027) HM
When John Mullan built a wagon road across western Montana in 1860, he utilized a ford across the Sun River just a few yards west of here that had been used by the Indians for generations.
In 1862, the crossing was the site of a government . . . — — Map (db m101870) HM
Born in Wales, Robert Vaughn farmed and mined coal in the Midwest before leaving Illinois in 1864 for the Montana goldfields. Observing how his ponies and oxen “fattened readily on weathered bunch grass,” even in winter, he filed for a . . . — — Map (db m143905) HM
The Mullan Road left the Sun River Valley here at a place called "The Leaving." After 1864, the road was better known a the Benton Road, connecting Fort Benton to Helena. Traffic on the road peaked during the late spring and early summers when high . . . — — Map (db m143904) HM